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LOCAL AUTHORITIES ACROSS WALES JOIN FORCES FOR THE SAKE OF CHILDREN

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In one of the biggest displays of partnership working in Wales, Swansea Council has joined councils across the prin...
In one of the biggest displays of partnership working in Wales, Swansea Council has joined councils across the principality to mount a national recruitment campaign to increase the number of people who can provide a child with a home.

The aim is to increase the number of foster carers by at least 750 across Wales.

Swansea Council has pooled funds and resources with its council partners to book a series of 30 second adverts which will be shown across the nation at peak times in order to encourage potential foster carers to come forward.

Not only is the campaign an unprecedented display of partnership working between the councils, it also provides national coverage for the issue and creates a strong platform for partnership problem-solving.

There are approximately 400 looked after children in Swansea, the majority of whom are in foster care.

More than 100 families offer a place in their homes and families for these youngsters who need a place to stay and someone to care for a variety of reasons.

However, more carers are always needed and Foster Swansea is happy to discuss the fostering options available with anyone who might think fostering could be for them.

Foster carers offer a range of services such as full time care, support breaks and 1-2-1 Foster Care for children with complex needs. Funding and training packages are available to help people take up the role.

The local authority uses a variety of methods to raise the profile of fostering and to increase the number of foster carers throughout the year, but national advertising has always been too expensive for Swansea Council to fund alone.

Coordinated and driven by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, the new partnership will fund the advertising 14 ways and has created an effective way to deal with interested parties who ring as a result of the adverts.

People interested will dial a single number that takes them to a call centre in Newport Council. Their contact details will be taken and forwarded to the relevant local Council Family Placement Teams such as Foster Swansea.

The adverts, which are based on successful ones created by Staffordshire Council, will run from today, for two weeks and will encourage people to become a foster carer, which is a challenging but extremely vital and rewarding role individuals and families can play.

Swansea Council Cabinet member for Social Services Cllr Wendy Fitzgerald said: ' Swansea is delighted to be participate in this broader recruitment project. We hope it going to have benefits not only for children in Swansea, but across the whole of Wales.'

Notes

The new partnership has been organised and driven by Rhondda Cynon Taff and includes: Swansea, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Newport, Powys, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Denbighshire and Neath Port Talbot Councils.

According to the National Fostering Network, there are 3,200 children being looked after by 1,900 foster carers acrossWales. At least 750 more are needed.

According to the same campaign group, the number of children - as a percentage of the total number of children 'looked after' by local authorities - in foster care in Wales is the highest in the UK.

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